Lotus' New Factory Is Officially Open

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Both the Emira and the Eletre will be made in Hethel.

We're pretty optimistic about the future of Lotus. In addition to the brand new Lotus Emira, the brand is also hoping to gather some more mainstream customers through its Eletre electric SUV. So far, it seems to be working. There's nothing but good news coming out of the Hethel-based manufacturer right now. Today, Lotus has officially opened its new manufacturing facility at Hethel, which it has named in honor of the company's founder.

The Chapman Production Center is already building the Emira, which Lotus has said will be the brand's last gas-powered car. The ceremony included some big names from Lotus, including several hundred of its employees. Clive Chapman, son of the famous Colin Chapman was there, as was Matt Windle, Lotus' managing director.

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Lotus
Lotus
Lotus

The new facility is part of a £100 million investment (around $103 million) investment by Lotus to update the brand's production methods and prepare the company for its electric future. Lotus also said its team has more than doubled since Geely's 2017 investment in the manufacturer. Those new staff members number around 300.

Clive Chapman said at the ceremony: "For the Chapman family it is extraordinary to witness Lotus on the path to becoming a global car manufacturer." Lotus calls the facility "one of the most advanced low-volume automotive manufacturing facilities in the world," and says the new factory can churn out around 5,000 new cars per year. Given the brand's traditionally low production numbers, that's a solid figure for a small brand like Lotus.

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Lotus
Lotus
Lotus
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The factory also houses an all-new paint shop that uses automation to apply primer, color, and clear-coat, which Lotus says will ensure an "exceptionally high-quality finish." We'll have to wait for a turn in the brand's new vehicles to see if that claim holds up. It's also a more efficient system, using dry filtration instead of wet, which apparently uses 60% less energy. The new booth also uses up to 40% less paint thanks to electrostatic primer for the body panels. Additionally, all Hethel and Norwich operations are powered by 100% renewable electricity.

That Norwich facility is now the brand's sub-assembly line and is now home to a line that builds the car bodies and makes heavy use of automation. With these changes made, it's clear Lotus is preparing for the future. Whether that translates to sales for the brand, however, remains to be seen.

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